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Until today and after today, even you can't say who is the most dominant, the strongest cyclocross writer in the pool or what, that I've said it to a friend this week. You know, I said, what really makes the difference between those two in the cyclocross is the form of the day. You know, as as we all know, you know, you can have a really good physical condition. But then, you know, one day you'll feel a bit better than another.
And then, you know, the typical thing in cyclocross, it's not just riding your bike, but it's also a lot of technique and a lot of things can happen. You know, a mishap, a crash, a flat tire, a mistake in the mud. And and that's what basically makes the difference between those two. And today, we've seen the confirmation of that once again.
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Oh, you are a ring dotcom and be like everybody else. You'll get the ring. Company is on fire. Welcome back to the Move podcast, and this is a first for the move, you know, we've covered the Tour de France is what we kick this off with, and we've done that four times. So we've got four seasons under our belt.
But the very, very first time for the Move podcast to be talking cyclocross and we'll get to it in a second. But I think it all came together that we need to be talking cyclocross because the players involved, the athletes who are big stars.
I'm JB Hager and joining me from Madrid, Johan Bruyneel, who is, I assume, a big fan of cyclocross because you're a fan of anything on two wheels. Pretty much.
But, man, we're we're a little rusty, Johan, with a little break. But, man, it's good to talk to you.
Yeah, good to talk to you, too, J.B.. And you know, the fact that we are doing another episode of the move, I think is good news. As you said, you know, cyclocross I love soccer because I've seen it my whole life in Belgium. It is super popular in Holland, too. You know, today, you know, was basically I think it was the Dutch Belgian championship more than the world championships.
But, you know, I think about 90 percent right now of all the races happen in Holland and in Belgium. But, yeah, I mean, you know, what a what a race.
And and especially, you know, the the the main players are especially what's what interests us and what what is actually a guarantee for for for, you know, a spectacular race.
Yeah. And we'll talk more about cyclocross in general, because I think for a lot of our move audience, it's unfamiliar, but let's give people what they want and talk about today's race, the world championships, because it as expected, as everyone predicted in the whole season, has gone this way.
It's almost a literal toss up of a coin between Matteo Vanderpool and wild fan art in it. That did not disappoint today. It really is remarkable to me just how dominant they are in cyclocross. Yeah, yeah.
It's you know, it was it was as expected before the race has been like this. The whole season is basically them to and the rest. You know, if you look at today, for example, the guy who gets third's, that's like a victory, you know, because it's a privilege to be able to be on the podium with those two who are basically in another league. You know, every single race this year where they have been racing together has been either one or the other, you know, until today.
And after today, even you can't say who is the most dominant, the strongest cyclocross rider material in the pool or whatever or not. I've said it to a friend this week. You know, I said, what really makes the difference between those two in the cyclocross is the form of the day. You know, as as we all know, you know, you can have a really good physical condition, but then, you know, one day you'll feel a bit better than another.
We all have it. You know, sometimes we we ourselves, we wake up and we feel a bit off for another day. We wake up and we're full of energy. So obviously, it happens for these champions, too. And then, you know, the typical thing in cyclocross, it's not just riding your bike, but it's also a lot of technique and a lot of things can happen. You know, a mishap, a crash, a flat tire, a mistake in the mud.
And and that's what basically makes the difference between those two. And today, we've seen the confirmation of that.
Once again, I took more interest in it because of Vanderpool and Venard and watched some other cup races. And at a at a recent Cup race, Vanderpool was saying he was off form one that day.
Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, listen, you know, I mean, if we cannot these two riders, you know, we cannot take them as the standard, of course, because they're so good, you know, I mean, they're both multiple times world champion. I think Vanderpool is the fourth of the fifth time Vanak about the same time world champion.
I mean, they basically collect rainbow jerseys. And so, yeah, I mean, it's kind of it's kind of strange to see a guy say, well, you know, today I didn't feel good, but I won the race anyway, but I didn't feel good.
You know, I wish I would I would be able to say that when I was a cyclist that never happened.
And I do want to know if you did any cyclocross. I will save that. He saved about what happened today. Because, you know, you brought to a lot of the the movie audience attention the name Tom Pidcock.
And he got forth today. Yes. A very, very close to getting on the podium, which is where he stood all season. Yeah, he was. It was likely Venard Vanderpool, one of the other first or second. And Pidcock, who's very, very strong out of the gate, but doesn't seem to have the strength and endurance of those other guys over. The full hour. Yeah, well, you know, he's still young, you know, if you look at Vanderpool and Vanguard and petcock, I mean, let's not forget these guys are also top of the world on road racing.
I think today petcock, obviously, you know, he found a type, of course, which was not really in his favor. He's he's better when it's uphill, when it's muddy the sand.
Today, let's not forget, today's of the world championships were in Belgium in standart, which is at the at the North Sea. May sound weird for people when we talk about Belgium and we were having a sea. We do have a CB, haven't we have an ocean.
I'm guilty of that. I looked at it on a map when when they started racing and showing the course, I go, where the hell is the ocean? Yes.
So forgive my ignorance, but to paint a picture for I think a lot of our audience may not have seen the race.
It's worth going to watch. Yeah.
To see how they did have a course going on along the beach, along the beach with waves crashing in on the course and some of that sand, some of the areas of sand were so thick that the bikes could not go anywhere near what you would call a straight line.
Yeah, I mean, that's the thing that that was in the disadvantage of Tom petcock that, you know, he's not the super powerful guy. He's more a lightweight. And so he said already on beforehand, you know, this is not my my preferred course. And then we saw a guy like the Belgian guy, Topknots, who is you know, he's, you know, one of the best of the rest, I would call them.
He's very experienced. You know, he's he's in his 30s and he was Belgian champion last year. He beat Tanaka, I think, last year or two years ago. And so, yeah, he's he's obviously a very experienced rider.
And but yeah, I mean, I think the course itself was spectacular. You know, it was there was a lot of sand. It's very, very particular exercise to do right. That there's a there's a special technique. You know, you have to have the the the balance, but especially the power and exactly. Knowing, you know, you have to push the right gear to get through it with speed.
And then on the other hand, the the course builders had had built in to really steep bridges, which were up to twenty one percent just after a section of sand. So those two elements were what was really what made the difference then. The rest of the course was on, on a horse racing track just, just behind the beach. But but I mean I think I think it was a spectacular course, very hard.
And you could see in the elite and in all the other categories that the strongest guy really won. The strongest rider really won the race. And in the elite race, this was no different for the iGate.
For those who didn't see it or don't intend to go watch it, I do think it's worth watching.
But at the beginning of the race, early on in the race, it looked like it was going to be Vanak stay. He he looked dominant. He looked confident. And we even saw Vanderpool crash happened to have to come out of the pedals once or twice when Vanak did not. And I thought, I thought it was going to be Wednesday. And then you know, these, as you've said, these guys are so close and talent that, you know, the puncture may or may not have decided the race with what you saw today, Johan, without the puncture, what we had had the same result.
Well, you know, it's difficult to say. You know, let's say they started. I mean, as as we as we know at the start of a cyclocross is spectacular. It's like a bunch sprint. It's it's a war. You absolutely have to be in the first three, four riders when they take the first turn and go into the field. Typically it's on on a on on a hard road, 100, 200, 300 meters. I don't know.
Directly from the first corner it was Vanderpool and Vanak, the first two.
And those positions haven't changed at all for the rest of the of the race.
But I have to say in the first two laps it looked to me that Vanak was was a little bit stronger than invulnerable, especially because Vanderpool made two mistakes in the in the sand. He lost the wheel, he lost a little bit of time, ten seconds. And then basically you're on the limit because you're under stress due to to have to come back. And then but that's when he made another mistake and went down.
And I personally thought, you know, after that crash, I said, oh, this is going to be this is going to be difficult. But, you know, it was still very, very early in the race. And and from a post race interview, I heard from Steve Underbool, he said that, you know, he he remained confident. He knew that he was going to be. Strong in the second half of the race, and let's not forget, this is just one hour race, but it's one hour full gas.
I mean, it is. It is. I mean, when you watch this on TV. You cannot even imagine how it looks in real life and how fast these guys go through the mud, through the sand, technical, uphills, technical downhills, it's it's crazy. They go so fast and it's a one hour all out effort. So obviously, you know, that's they're trained for this. And Vanderpool was confident that the second part of of the race, he would you would remain strong and kept the focus, on the other hand.
And we saw so, you know, after the crash, he was he was able to maintain the difference and even come back a little bit. And then at that same moment when he was kind of starting to, you know, diminish the difference between him and of an art had to puncture its part of cyclocross, you know, mechanical scratches, punctures. I mean, these guys run an extreme low tire pressure. I mean, very low notes, different tires.
The limit, the maximum allowed is thirty two millimeters.
And then they have different profiles, which also, you know, and then there's two, one or two normally two pit stops on on on a different part of the of the course where they change bikes, depending on whether it's muddy when the bike is getting too muddy to to keep going fluidly, that so they can change bikes all the time. But they also sometimes do it with just you know, they do one part of the course with a certain profile on the tire.
And then the second the other part, what it's maybe a little bit different.
The soil, they take another profile.
It's super technical that you just shed some light on something as I've watched more across the season, because I had seen some riders take a bike change when I go wait, they're not even married yet. But it was it's about catering to the conditions. And I didn't realize there were there were there were multiple pick up areas. So how many parts are they allowed?
Well, I mean, obviously they have I think these guys have like four or five bikes, but they're constantly cleaning them. Right. So so they have they have a whole team behind it. They have, you know, two mechanics and two guys who constantly go back and forth. There's there's cleaning stations with high pressure cleaners and they are constantly cleaning them. Then, of course, they have to put, you know, oil or lubricant on it again to make it functional.
And sometimes it happens. I've seen in other in other races, because you have to you have to have in mind one thing. They saw these guys preview the course probably the day before or for the world championships, maybe during the week, then in the morning of the race. But then normally during that same day, there's other races happening.
Like today, for example, there was another race right before the before the professional race. The what was it was it was the women's. No, it was the yeah, it was the other 23 females that raced, so obviously that course keeps changing.
From hour to hour, because it's not the same if you have a fresh course or if you have a course where already 40 racers have been racing on for another hour before you go on the it's it's more muddy.
You know, there's different tracks.
And sometimes the guys have a certain tire pressure that they decide together with their mechanics or the technical team before they start. Then they do a lap and they say, well, you know, no, it's too much or too little. And then they give indications.
They say, OK, next the next lap.
I don't know, they probably have a code that they say, you know, more or less or, you know, zero point five more. I don't know how it works, but it's it's extremely technical from from an equipment point of view. You talk about conditions changing, what I couldn't help but think about today is like, did the tide change? Yes, it did more water for one race compared to another. Yeah, it did.
But, you know, they had the they had the that was actually quite good because it was you basically could decide where I mean, you could see that they rode right on the part where the sand was a little bit wet, but not wet enough that you sink in it for quite a while. And then they had to decide exactly where they cut off to go back inland.
If you, for example, for the for the for the really cyclocross fans, if you look back on the under 23 female race, the girl who got third, she basically lost the title because she made a wrong decision. She kept going too far before before turning right inland. And the two Dutch riders took another another strategy and they they took, you know, a ten meter advantage. And that was it. Yeah.
Well, tell me a little bit about Tune to Nazr. He's he's a champion. And he obviously was on form today.
He was great. He was good. I mean, he's a very, you know, very constant rider. He's always there. Obviously, today the the course was in his favor. You know, he he could keep Tom Pidcock off. But, you know, I mean, he's I think he deserves it. You know, he's one of the established names in cyclocross was Belgian champion last year. Last season, I think he won the World Cup like the overall competition of all the World Cup races.
He's part of the team that, you know, Sven NICE's running. They did.
That was it was a track. I think it's now. So, yeah.
I mean, it's not a surprise. Normally, you know, if if the ranking is is respected, it would be, you know, either the pool or vanguard and petcock, as we said before. But today, dunnarts was on a good day and Pidcock didn't didn't find the course that he liked.
But, yeah, I mean, I think I think he's he's probably you know, he's he's he's as happy as as Vanderpool. You know, Renard's is obviously going to be disappointed and and petcoke, extremely disappointed not be on the podium. But I think Venard and Vanderpool and Arts are equally happy today because it's it feels like, you know, it feels like a world championship title for him for Ferraz.
Also worth mentioning is that while fine art won the championship for the season, the most points.
Yes. The World Cup. Yeah, the World Cup. Yeah.
Well, yeah, but I'm assuming being world champion is a bigger deal than that of of course, in cyclocross.
It's first of all, you know, it's a small it's a small circle of riders. It's very it's specialists. Right. So it's always the same. Let's say there's twenty which are, you know, which are the best of the world in this discipline.
Now since most of the races are in Belgium and Holland, it's also logical that it's all it's almost all Belgians and Dutch.
You know, we have petcock. Who is is an exception. He comes from Great Britain. And then other than that, this there's not that many. You know, there's not that before it was Belgium, Holland, it was there was a lot of Swiss. The French have been really good at some point. And then, you know, some Czech riders like Stieber and was three times world champion and then Simonet back in the days.
And but it's really it's really in northern Europe and actually a Benelux concentrated sports, which, you know, we see and we see in the in the results. You know, if you look at it today and yesterday. So there was four races, right. Two female races and two elite men races. And there's only one country that got a medal, a bronze medal, except Belgium and Holland. So all the the all the medals went to Belgium to, let's say, Holland and Belgium, because they they got and Holland got all the four gold medals.
You know, and we should mention there was one lone American in the men's race, Curtis White, who took 20th, I believe. Yeah. Five and a half minutes back. Not bad. Yeah.
But I mean, that doesn't say anything, because if you look at the third, Ryder is already a minute something down.
And I mean, there's three minutes, there's three minutes.
Something between the first and the tenth already.
So, you know, it's I think it's it's quite a good performance for for the American, which I you know, just what I've seen in the cycling culture here in Texas. I have seen cyclocross growing and growing and growing. In fact, it's but this has been a weird year with covid, but.
It's gained so much popularity that even our our annual cret series was wrapping up a month early to accommodate Cross, I mean, there's just more interest in not riding on roads and competing with cars, I think is part of it.
But there's just general interest in the sport is growing here. Is that happening in the rest of the world in general, do you think?
Well, you know, let's say in Belgium, Holland and especially in Belgium and more particularly in Flanders, it is huge. You know, it's huge because it has a long history. I mean, it just brings a lot of a lot of people I mean, brought right now, unfortunately, you know, the races are not allowed to have spectators, but it is a sport, one of the only disciplines in cycling that, you know, is relatively easy to organize because it's on a very small perimeter.
You know, basically within two square kilometers, you can you can organize or within one square kilometer you can organize a really, really nice course. And then basically also for I mean, for spectators, you can see the riders all the time compared to a road race. Basically, it's from A to B and you know, you either watch it on TV or you just see them come by for 30, 40 second, then that's it. Right.
So there's a lot that can be done around cycling for the TV. Companies, it's very easy to do for the images you always, always have been. Logistically, it's quite easy and then quite comfortable. So it is hugely popular. But of course, with those two big names, really, the world stars of cycling going out and Vanderpool, it's you know, it's going to keep growing. It's a big, big difference when they're there and when they're not there.
You know, the beginning of the season, the cyclocross season, both of them were still taking a rest the break from from their road season. And it was a whole different I mean, the races were actually very, you know, very interesting because it was all very close together. You never knew it was going to win. And then all of a sudden, Vanguard shows up and Underbool shows up. And it's a different game. You know, they they're they're there from the start.
And it's another type of racing.
Well, I think part of what's different that can that will contribute to its popularity is that now we live in a in a world where niche sports can be streamed. Yes, we have. But my what I would like to know is, is because of the popularity in in Belgium, where you grew up, where it was, where cyclocross races televised.
I've always known it, but it's, again, the same thing. You know, we've always had world champions.
And and there was I mean, you know, people are going to say you watch everything, which is which is cycling related. And actually, you know, they're right.
I watched I watched a documentary about end of the year 60 in the beginning of the 1970s where the cyclocross was incredibly popular in Belgium. And we had the same situation we had. We had Eric Devlopment, who was the brother of Roger developping for the for, you know, for certain people who Roger Deflowering was a big champion on the road. You know, in the era of already demarks, he has the the the record. I think he won four times by Roubaix.
But anyway, his his brother, Eric was also a really good road racer, but he was an incredible cyclocross racer. He was seven times world champion cyclocross. On the other hand, you had another guy, Albert Van Damme. He was who was seven or eight times Belgian champion during that same era. And you had this rivalry, which was unbelievable. I mean, I was so I mean, when I saw these old images, that old footage, and to see the amount of people that were at those races, that was crazy.
And that's actually and so because when I when I started to to see cyclocross, it's a little bit later.
But I remember going with my father to certain certain races.
One of the races is actually called the Hovatter, which is still an existing a World Cup or super prestige race today. And I was I was I mean, that was that was just crazy, the amount of spectators that, you know, to see these guys from close by. And it's been it's been popular. It's been always popular, always on TV. And, you know, during the winter, cycling doesn't stop in Belgium. It just goes along with cyclocross.
I know sometimes I think the Belgians are crazy and we definitely love cycling, that's for sure. Did the great Eddie Merc's ever cross race?
He did. He did.
But just as you know, basically as an exhibition, some exhibition races, and we got a lot of a show up, I guess about I mean, I don't know if you would compare it with nowadays.
No, but, you know, back then, I do remember he did the relay race with Roger Development, which, you know, but but no, he was not he was not really a demarks was more of a in the off season.
He did a lot of track races, the six day races velodrome.
Mm. Yeah. Because of OK. Like I said, I watched some cup races this year for the first time, of course, it's streaming has changed things, but I was interested in Vanderpool and Venard, who I learned about from road racing.
Do you think we're going to see more crossover because of these two guys and what they are accomplished and Pidcock is now in any sense? Right, exactly. Exactly.
So is it will we see more crossover or is it is there still kind of an old school philosophy that you shouldn't be doing this in the winter?
Well, no, I think it's changing. You know, obviously the proof is there. The proof is there that it can be done.
You know, now, I don't think we should take these two guys as a standard because they are just exceptionally great athletes, you know, whether it's cyclocross or road or in Vanderpoel's case, even mountain bike. They can do anything on a bike. But, you know, lots of people forget, you know, like, for example, if you if you look at the other riders, for example, Juliar, Philip was a French champion cyclocross in the youth categories.
There's other examples. I mean, the next bar was cyclocross world champion. And he's a great you know, he's obviously in the at the end of his career, but he's a great road racer with Wins Classics. There's there's many, many, many examples. I think what's for sure now is that these kind of disciplines, cyclocross and also a mountain bike, is something that young aspiring cyclists from very young age should consider doing because it's it's a great basis.
It creates, you know, you have this top end from a very young age. And, of course, you know, you're extremely handy on a bike. You know, you can you can handle your bike a lot better than than anybody.
You know, if you look at a guy like Peter, Sargon, for example, he comes from BMX by another discipline, which is extremely short efforts. You have to be extremely handy and you have to be explosive. You know, then the question is, of course, how can you combine it at the highest level? Across several disciplines, that's the question, right, because in this case, here we have on the pool and Vanguard, they they have specific goals today.
For example, I think it was actually before that before the championship, there was an interview with Vanak and he said that he wants to keep combining it because he loves both disciplines so much. And for the moment, it works. For the moment it has cyclocross has brought him to where he is right now on the road. So he doesn't see any reason to change it. But then, of course, you know, the road racing remains the most popular discipline is also where the biggest contracts are.
And that's ultimately what's going to decide whether these guys can keep doing it or not. For the moment, I would say they're doing quite well with the combination. You know, they're obviously the two best riders in cyclocross and they're two of the very, very, very best in the world on the road in one day races and certain certain classics.
So, you know, I think it's I think it's a great it's a great discipline for any aspiring young cyclist to to practice and compete in a safe environment for a kid or anything.
That's part of it, too.
That's another thing. I mean, I'm not OK and it's not necessarily OK.
Obviously, they're going to have crashes because, you know, the the cyclocross is obviously you have you know, it can be dangerous, but, you know, when you fall, it's in the mud or in the grass or but, you know, obviously traffic, you don't have a problem with that.
Mountain biking is the same. Right. So, I mean, for for parents, obviously, it's it's it's a discipline where you can basically leave your kids with with a technical team and then you know that they're going to be safe.
You know, if anyone who's followed your career, Johan, knows a lot of the the things that you did that tweak the sport.
And one of those is a lot more training below threshold and getting your you know, adjusting your threshold that way would actually raise it.
How does that affect you being a, you know, a competitive road cyclist when you're in the winter? Like it's all above threshold like that? I know.
I know. And this goes completely against you know, when I was a cyclist, it was completely the philosophy. The way of thinking was completely different. Right. So you were supposed to be, you know, doing long miles, not too much intensity built, you know, a strong base and definitely never, never go into the red zone before. You had a certain amount of distance in your legs. This changes everything, you know. But if you look and I think I think, you know, obviously science has advanced so much.
There's so much so much knowledge, so much data out there now that it's really it really follows the theory that you do not need to first train that much endurance. You can actually already train intensity from the very beginning in your preparation and get to a really high level. So this obviously confirms it. You know, whatever we thought twenty, twenty five years ago about training and how it should be done has been changed completely. I think the science is there to back it up and the proof is in the results of these guys.
It can be done. You know, they they're on an extremely high level right now. More intensity. I think it's difficult to imagine than, you know, an hour for guys like this. And then, you know, a guy like Walmart, you you see him pulling in the mountains in the in the Tour de France and winning bunch. Prince and Vanderpool is a guy, you know, who was it was going to be there in in Peru to bear in Flanders.
You know, these guys are everywhere. Again, I repeat, you know, it's not it's not the standard. But, you know, there's more and more cases. You know, if we think if we talk about those three guys, you know, I want to I want to bring petcock in it because he's you know, he's a super talent. You know, this guy is now fourth in the in the world championships elite. But last year he won the he won the under twenty three Giro d'Italia.
Right. So plus four stages in the mountains, so obviously it is possible to combine it and it doesn't really it doesn't really affect them as long as they have the opportunity from their team to building the necessary rest periods between their objectives. Of course. How close to their max heart rate are they for that entire hour, how much time are they at? Max, every time it's thick sand, mud, an incline. I just can't fathom.
I think I think they're always about 90 percent above 90 percent. Wow. Yeah. Yeah, for sure.
I know they mentioned one of them today, does a lot of training in the sand. I wonder if we're going to see a bunch of people out riding up and down the beach.
It's a different it's I mean, it's it is it is obviously a different technique. You know, before the before the race, the let's say the predictions were that. And I think, you know, on this course, they were kind of right that in theory Vanak would have the advantage over from the pool in terms of riding in the sand, because Vanguard has a little bit more pure power then than won the pool.
And the sections that were in the race today were not technical, it was on pure power, you know, then again, we saw Vanguard make too many mistakes in the second half of the race. You know, there was at least four or five times he had to get off the bike where off the pool rode the whole section.
You never know. I mean, it's difficult to say, you know.
I mean, how can you be better than I mean, it's OK. They say one artist stronger than on pool. I mean, how can you be stronger to run the pool? I don't know how much more power you have to have, but guess that those numbers are for sure amazing, you know?
Yeah, I, I would like to see more of the the the data on the riders in across race.
You know, the thing is, they can't really they can't ride with power meters, you know, because they're changing bike so many times.
I mean, you know, they have to would have to have a power meter on every on every bike plus.
I mean, I don't know. I don't know. I've not seen I've not seen anybody ride with power meters. It's like a cross.
You got to air it and all that stuff they have they have five to six bikes and they're constantly changing them. So no, I don't think I don't think they're riding with power meters.
That's information. I wanted to see how much power when they were pushing too.
I'm pretty sure you can calculate it then in training. Of course they use it, but but in the race, I haven't seen it. I think it's for that reason. Well, it's worth mentioning some of the other winners for the weekend, because, as you mentioned and everyone knows, Johann watches everything and said give some love to the Belgians and the Dutch.
Who were some of the other winners here?
The Belgians got very they didn't get a little love this weekend. You know, we organized the race. But I think, you know you know this there's these jokes, you know, between Dutch and and Belgians.
I think it's usual between the two countries that that are next to each other. And I think the Dutch are going to are going to say the Belgians organized the world championships for us, you know, because they took all of the all of the gold medals. So the the winner in the 23 men was a young writer. Ron Howard is his name. He's I think he's 19 or 20 years old.
Then under 23 women was Feme Van Mple, 18 years old only. And she's, you know, similar to Ramco even a pool.
She's an ex semi professional football player who swift who shifted to to cycling.
Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah. And then in the elite women, it was, you know, a clean sweep for Holland. One, two, three, win by Lucinda Brandt, who was the big favorite.
And and then the other two and three.
I don't remember their names now, but yeah.
I mean, all the gold medals for for Holland, which, you know, I think they got nine medals in total and then ah, eight medals, three for Belgium and and one for Hungary, which which was in the in the under twenty three women's race crossdressing doesn't leave much opportunity for team tactics or does that.
And I'm just not aware.
It depends in, obviously in this, in this race. No, because it's, it's, you know, it's the first and the second. But you know, this is something that has evolved in the last ten years, whereas before cyclocross was really an individual sport. A lot of these riders, they they had private sponsors or they were part of a road team, but only did cyclocross. Now you actually have cyclocross teams, you know, with their technical staff, with the team director, the whole thing.
You know, the bus. You know, obviously the team directors kind of follow with the car, but they're on the side of the road on side of the course. So there are team tactics. I've seen a lot of those in the races where Vanderpool and Vanguard were not present at the beginning of the season.
You know, but once these two guys are there, it's yeah, they can use team tactics for the third place, I guess.
Yeah. They the only place I saw it today was at the start there was a train of Belgian's between the top two and Pidcock.
Yes. Yes. And maybe just causing some traffic. No, obviously.
But, you know, I mean, since it's such a small circle of riders, let's say I've seen in the past, I've seen world championships where, for example, the Belgian team was was extremely dominant. Right. And it was between Belgians. And so there were no team tactics.
If a rider from Belgium was away and there was three guys behind with, you know, with two Belgians and a Dutch guy and one of those two Belgians wanted to win, he just you know, there was he forgot completely. He was just, you know, chased the guy down. Obviously, it's not the same. You know, the drafting is not the same in cyclocross as as on the road. The speed is a lot lower, but still it can have an effect and especially it can have an effect where you have, you know, somebody of another team before you in front of you in a technical corner.
They could, you know, potentially slow down a little bit. The other rider has no room to to pass the rider in and the first guy can be gone. So but yeah, well, today today there was not much of that. And then I've got to follow up on the question that I teased at the beginning of this. Is your cross experience. Well, growing up or professional? I did you did you do any.
It's good that you ask. Yeah, I was more.
I was more.
I mean, from a very young age, the city where I lived was also the the the home, the hometown of of the the marks of the track, which was called Patrick Sacu. He was, you know, was a big star, was teammates with demarks.
He was really good on the road, but he was the best on the on the velodrome and he was Olympic champion won I think sixty five, six day races raced a lot with Eddie Merks as a couple in this on the velodrome.
So I did a lot of track racing, velodrome racing, but. I did one time a cyclocross, one time, one time, one time, yes, and I and I and I made it.
I didn't make it even to the finish of the first lap, you know, that was the end of my of my cyclocross experience. We had to we we had to start. So I you know, obviously, I was I was a road racer in between cyclocross races, but I had, you know, a good start. And then we had to get off the bicycle to jump a few barriers, those little wooden barriers.
And, you know, back in the days, we were still with, you know, traditional pedals with, you know, with toe straps. Right. So obviously, you know, those those pedals were not you know, you didn't you didn't really tighten them. They were kind of loose. But, you know, you had the normal kind of fixation for the for the for the shoe on the pedal.
And so we had to jump off the bike to get over the over those barriers. And I didn't manage to get one of my feet out. Oh, boy, I fell down, my bike went the other way, and the result was I had a triple ankle fracture.
Oh, which was which was the end of my cyclocross experience, big surgery. And I was out of the because I did it as a preparation for the road season. It was it was in January, I think. And I think I was out till till August. So, yeah, I was as a junior when I was 17 years old, and then this is not for me, that was that was it.
I said, no, no, I'm I'll keep I'll keep racing on the track, which, you know, which was which was good because I managed to to have seven seven national and national champion jerseys on the on the track.
So I prefer I prefer that I said, you know what, I'll keep I'll keep dry. I'll keep clean. I don't want to get dirty. And this is also great training. Plus I'm pretty good at it.
Wow, wow, that's a good story, I didn't know that. Yeah, yeah.
And we'll wrap it up with some good news, too, because it has been a rough year for a lot of reasons, but the road season is getting under way.
This looks very promising. So tell tell me what you're seeing, hearing, reading about, you know, the twenty, twenty one season.
Yeah. Well, you know, until until today, let's say we didn't have a lot of good news because lots and lots of, you know, spring races have been canceled.
It's usually in all these races, there's there they're small organizations, you know, so but they're traditionally on the calendar. Is the tour of Valencia tour of Mersea basically a lot in southern Europe because of the weather. And so almost all of them have been canceled. I personally think it's been like a kind of a snowball effect. You know, one cancels and then the other also everybody follows each other's initiative. And so I was I was worried, you know, to see this happening.
But finally today, the the European road season, elite season has kicked off with a typical also a typical pre-season race, Grand Prix de la Marseillaise in southern France. And it's you know, it's usually, you know, the opening of the it's usually the opening of the French cycling season. So they go ahead. And then directly after this, we have the Étoile, the best measure, which is a four or five day stage race, which is also happening, you know, with all the I mean, with with with a lot of big teams.
So I was happy to see that. And hopefully this example is going to be designed for other races to, you know, not pull the plug and keep going.
Because at the beginning of the season, of course, you know, before the really big races start, we need all these riders need and the teams they need preparation races to get in.
The rhythm of today's race was actually won also by a French rider, young rider Australia by from Ajita, which is not with just this year, is called Ejeta or Citroën new new sponsor coming into the car brand.
So. So, yeah, I mean, that was really that was really good to see. Yeah. Hopefully, you know, we can we can now start, you know, I mean we of course I think the the people who need to do the most planning or the teams, it must be a nightmare, you know, to have the whole calendar ready, you know, which which which rider races where.
And then all of a sudden, you know, everything's cancelled. This is cancelled. And so, yeah, I mean, that's good news. It's good news. And, you know, cycling has shown last year that it's able to organise races under these difficult circumstances. Big tours have gone ahead. You know, the big classics have gone ahead.
I think also with, you know, with the difficulty in organising a race like like like a cycling race is for the smaller organisers who obviously are struggling with their budget.
And, you know, the extra measures that have to be taken because of covid and the lack of spectators and the lack of VIP program. So no revenue is obviously a big factor that some organisations cannot go ahead with their with their races. So, you know, we we hope that this can be, you know, that this can be the last season. The good thing is that most of those races have actually asked to postpone instead of the council, which is I think is a good sign.
So they obviously, obviously want to organize, but they would like to do it at a later date. That's going to be a big headache for the UCI to find the place on the calendar for every race.
But at least, you know, they're not cancelling totally. Have you heard any dialogue about that, the not just the riders, but their whole support staff getting any sort of priority on vaccines? Not that. Not that. That's the most important thing in the world.
I haven't I haven't heard anything about that. I do know, for example, I mean, there's the vaccines are obviously, you know, that's going to be the key for the whole world, you know, to deal with this pandemic there. There's one team that Teemu I u.a.e I've read that they have all the riders vaccinated already.
But and I think also that the UAE as a country have bought a lot, a lot, a lot of vaccines, money talks.
Well, you know, it's that, you know, that's the rule in life. Right? So I've seen that that all their riders are vaccinated already.
But, you know, it's not going to change anything. I mean, if the other teams are not vaccinated, they're not going to start in a race. Just just them. Right. Right. So.
So, no, I haven't heard anything. I haven't heard anything.
But personally, I think that, you know, looking at looking at from from from what I know and what's going on in the professional sport, I think that actually, you know, organizing a bike race, a professional bike race and having all the all the professional teams, professional riders stuff, I think, in my opinion is that's actually a safer place to be than go.
Go do your groceries at the supermarket. Mm hmm. Because you're surrounded. But you're sure that everybody's tested. Everybody who is allowed there has tested negative. And, you know, it's never 100 percent. But I guess, you know, the Tour de France and and then later the Tour of Spain has shown, you know, in the tour Spain, for example, three weeks. And there was not one single positive case. So and I think we've been learning about this.
So there's you know, there's no reason to think that, you know, the knowledge and the experience of last year has to serve this year to be able to organize these races even even better. Well, we'll wrap it up for today, this was good, this was fun talking cyclocross and in these places they're going to be really fun to watch all those those three that we spent the most time on that Art Vanderpool and Pidcock are going to be on to talk about all season.
And we'll probably, if things stay as scheduled, what I'm guessing is where we're all going to be getting together, you know, on the classics with Morlan Sanremo being our first and on March 20th and of course, bringing them Lance and George and and of course, you beyond that will be jumping into the classics before we know it. Let's hope.
Let's hope we can have all these races can go ahead as planned and at least we can have a normal calendar. Cycling is not going to be back to normal because, you know, the spectators are going to be missing, which is obviously which is a big factor. I heard today, for example, of Underbool say, you know, world championship without spectators is definitely not the same, you know, but but it is what it is.
There's no there's no other solution right now. All right. Well, it's a pleasure talking to you and take care of Johan. Thank you very much. That was fun. Bye, everybody.